The Great Food Revolution of 2012: Where our journey began and resources we have used

by Melody on May 23, 2012

Welcome to the Great Food Revolution of 2012.

When I started my frugal journey after our first son was born, I was pretty into couponing.  We lived on a grocery budget of about $125/month, mainly because I was getting so much for free with coupons and barely touching the fresh stuff.  I never once looked at a label, even if I had, I wouldn’t have had any idea what I was reading.  We weren’t exercising at all, often times lamenting the fact that we were much heavier than we would like to be.  We didn’t necessarily FEEL bad, I just don’t think at that point we realized how good we could actually feel if we paid even the slightest bit of attention to our bodies or our diet.

A few months after our second son was born (January of 2011), in that LONG stretch between Christmas and the first actual sunny day of Spring, my husband and I decided to watch a documentary that Emilie recommended called Food Inc. (Amazon).

First, let me tell you how I usually watch movies.  I’m usually engrossed in the blogging world, occasionally peeking up at the TV when my husband says “Did you see that?” or “What did he just say?”.  I’m terrible at sitting still.  About 7 minutes into this movie, I put down the computer and just stared at the TV screen.  I was not prepared for what this movie was actually about.  It dives deep into the world of food as we know it, government subsidization, the state of farms, the state of the farmer.  How was it that I never cared before where our food came from, what was in it, what I was feeding our children for heavens sake?  In this case, the saying “Ignorance is Bliss” has never had a truer ring.

What changes did we make from here?

We immediately stopped eating fast food (watch the movie, you’ll get it).  Not that we ate much, but we did take the kids for an occasional cheeseburger when we were in a hurry or stop on the way out of town.  No more and we have not looked back since.

This movie is also what prompted me to start researching local Community Supported Agriculture programs.  We decided we wanted to pay more attention to where our produce was coming from, how it was being grown and try to support local as much as possible.  I used the website and found the wonderful program from Finley’s Fresh Produce out of Hermiston.  We have been using them for two years now and have been so happy, with the quality of the produce and the transparency of the farmers.  We also vowed to visit the farmer’s markets more often, which we did all of last year.

Last but certainly not least, my husband built three raised beds in our backyard so we could grow some of our own produce.  We ended up with an abundance of produce last year, which meant that we ate healthier whether we liked it or not.  I’m not into food waste, so we ate, froze, canned a little or traded our vegetables.  For my first gardening update of 2012, read here.

At the beginning of 2011, I had made it my goal to get back into exercising.  I was tired of being frustrated with my weight, how I felt, the amount of energy I had to chase after the boys, how my clothes were NOT fitting.  I ordered Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred (Amazon) and started doing it 2-3 times per week.  It was hard.  After doing nothing and pushing this post-baby body to do anything, I was a mess.

These two huge components in our lives (trying to eat better and exercising) seemed to collide with a spectacular BANG.  The more I exercised, the less I wanted to eat junky food.  The better we tried to eat, the more I wanted to exercise to help my body along.  The more I did both, the more energy I had at the end of the day.  I ended up at about a 16-17 pound weight loss and had never felt better about myself.  If you are interested in my exercise/getting fit journey, read through some of my posts here.

The tipping point

What really sealed the deal for us was doing a 10-Day Herbal Cleanse, cutting out sugar, caffeine, most fats, dairy.  We ate a LOT of whole foods over the course of the 10 days and really watched our portions and when we ate certain foods (protein, carbs, fats).  We did lose a little bit of weight, but what we really gained was knowledge of the absolute workings of our body.

We realized that we had been eating for reward and not for the optimization of our bodies and energy levels.  It showed us exactly what our bodies need for energy and stamina and how to keep our blood sugar consistent, without any major highs and lows.  It showed us that the “treats” we were eating were just majorly empty calories and weren’t just bad for our weight loss goals, but seriously bad for our bodies.  We realized that the foods we were eating weren’t giving us anything, but just taking away.

What we also realized was that the “healthy foods” we had been eating weren’t really healthy at all.  We started really taking a look at the cereal we were eating for breakfast that was billed as a health food.  We took a look at the proportion of our snacks and meals, we started paying more attention to labels and the amount of protein and fiber that was in our foods.  We didn’t stick to the menu plan exactly after we got off the cleanse, but we made some serious changes for the better.

Without giving one second thought to my weight, I continued to work out every day and follow this better eating plan.  I randomly stepped on the scale after a month or two after the cleanse and realized my total weight loss was now at 23 pounds!

All of these things have come together for BOTH my husband and I.  We really needed to be on the same page, it just wouldn’t work if one of us was trying to make this journey without the other.  He has been really willing to watch these movies with me and listen (at least semi-attentively) to all the information I am spouting at him all day.

I’m excited to share our journey with you!  In the next post of this series, I will be talking about the major changes we have made to our diet, followed by a more broken-down version of our pantry changes and what we are now making from scratch.

Other resources we have used

*Several of these are available through Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video

Articles and Books

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Trina May 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Wow, thanks for this, Melody! I need to re-read it later, and check out some of your links. I’ve been able to get a lot of these types of movies for free thru my local library.

Food, Inc. is a fantastic jumping-in place. And I never, ever in a million years considered becoming vegetarian (or vegan!) until watching Forks Over Knives. Today I started watching “Dive” (as in dumpster dive) about the amount of food that is thrown away in the USA.


Trina May 25, 2012 at 12:01 am

You should somehow pin this series (permanently) to your front page or main menu bar!!! Possibly with your exercise posts also? I think these things are definitely under-represented in the couponing world. But they are exactly the reasons that I’m drawn to your blog week after week (along with your matchups for my fave stores)!


Melody May 25, 2012 at 5:57 am

Great suggestion Trina, thanks!


Lora June 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm

LOVE!! Thank you SO much for sharing with us! You and your family are so inspiring to me. In fact, that is just what I needed to get myself to go work out right now. 🙂 I too am going to check out some of your links and books, etc. AWESOME information! Thanks!!


Lora January 31, 2013 at 1:50 pm



Lora January 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Oops! Sorry about the above!

I’m finally getting around to seriously studying this series. I am fed up with all of our family’s food allergies that only keep getting worse along with our other health issues. Our journey starts now! Thanks for this awesome series!

Also – you MUST watch the new movie “Genetic Roulette”. Must. It is about genetically modified foods. It will absolutely shock you. I am grateful to have seen it because it has finally given me answers to why our family keeps developing food allergies and why we have a few other health issues. A true must see especially for moms!


Melody January 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm

It’s on our “to watch” list on Amazon Instant Video, we just haven’t gotten around to it. It’s been recommended by quite a few people, it must be good! In an awful way. 🙂


Lora January 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Here’s the link for “Genetic Roulette”. They’re allowing free online screenings for a little while. The more people that see this the better!


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